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Car Industry's 2010 Face Off...

... If 2009 was the year of thundering bankruptcies and an almost total collapse of the American car industry - while the Japanese more or less flourished - 2010 seems to be the exact opposite. General Motors, Ford and even Chrysler – who were technically dead as dead - are rising up from their graves, while Toyota is facing its biggest recalls in history.

There have been so many news reports related to the braking and accelerating issues concerning Toyotas in the past few months that I'm not going to get into the specific details. In short, Toyota has made a huge boo-boo, and they are now paying the toll for it, while the "Big Three" are having a slow but sure recovery. How the tables have turned, wouldn't you say?

If anyone made a bet in 2009 that we would be seeing the situation being completely reversed in less than a year from then, he would probably be a very rich man now. Why? Well, for one thing, who would've thought it possible? The odds were probably as low as finding that Megan Fox has a penis.

Toyota had finally overthrown big ol' GM as the world's largest car manufacturer and they were selling more cars in a time of worldwide economic crisis. What happened, then? Was it just plain old luck or was there something else involved in this fantastic turn of events?

Conspiracy theorists are probably so delighted about this new subject that even the usual UFOs/Area 51/Kennedy assassination/New World Order subjects are taking a break from being discussed on underground blogs.

Now everyone's talking about how the subliminal powers of General Motors have influenced even the government in order for them to rise from their ashes and bury Toyota instead. Actually, you don't even have to be a conspiracy theorist to start imagining things like that. The coincidence is too big to just let it slide.

Either way, even if Toyota was "rigged" in some way or not, safety problems with some of their cars do exist and not all of them are the supplier's fault. The sudden acceleration and braking problems are quite a serious matter after all, and people have actually died because of this.

On the other hand, this isn't by far the biggest vehicle recall in history, since the aforementioned "Big Three" take the cake for the first places in this podium of shame.

So, what will the end of 2010 bring to the table? Considering the way Toyota has started this year, the future doesn't look too bright for them. Adding fuel to the fire, General Motors' most expected model in years (the Chevrolet Volt, ed) is about to be launched this autumn, Ford's almost entire vehicle has been or is about to be totally revamped with more fuel-efficient and desirable cars while even the black sheep of the bunch, Chrysler, has started to see sunny days by forming quite a powerful partnership with the Fiat Group.

A couple of questions remain though. Is Toyota going down like the victim of a boxing sucker punch? Will the reversing of the situation keep its momentum? I might get flamed for this, but I think not. In my opinion, Toyota will return to the number one car maker spot in about a year, or maybe even less.

Why am I so positive? Well, first things first, let me say that I'm far from being a Toyota fan boy. Probably even on the contrary from some points of view. Second of all, the vehicle recall image blow isn't as big as some media outlets would lead you to believe.

As a matter of fact, exactly during the media's biggest pounding on Toyota in February, an American poll was revealing that from the majority of people following the recall scandal, over 80% of them were still viewing the brand as favorably as ever. And we're talking about millions of Americans, Toyota's current biggest market.

During a massive safety-related recall, can you imagine that? Well, I can. And since it also happened before (see Ford's mega-recall in the early 2000s, when their Explorers were rolling over like eggs down some stairs), I see no reason not to think that Toyota will actually emerge stronger from this mess.

I'm not even mentioning the sales boom that might be experienced in China by every car brand that's present there in the nearing future. Plus, considering the quality of most Chinese cars and the laws there, in China there probably won't even be any recalls. Ever.

Let us remember that 2009 was also a year of economic downturn, and that before that Toyota had actually clinched the number one spot in the car manufacturer's hierarchy, beating Ford and then GM. Therefore, events that happened prior to 2009 are leading me to believe that the battle at the top is actually just heating up. What do you think about this subject?
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About the author: Alex Oagana
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Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the autoevolution.com project.
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